The fawning over Kim Yo Jong and North Korean cheerleaders at the Olympics got so bad over the weekend that even Buzzfeed the perennial clickbait site, not exactly the hallmark of all journalism had to slap much of mainstream media upside its head with a ‘PSA’ telling readers that yes, Kim’s sister, an emissary of the most oppressive state in the world is “Not Your New Fave Shade Queen” but rather a “Garbage Monster.”
That wasn’t the only subject upon which media seemed to fail in its Olympic coverage.
Adam Rippon, an openly gay figure skater, blasted Vice President Mike Pence’s role as head of the Olympic delegation. “You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon said. “I’m not buying it.”
Once at the Games, he also stood with Gus Kenworthy, another gay athlete, who made a social media post “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” as well as a nasty remark to Pence “Eat your heart out, Mike Pence!”
Pence responded simply by saying he supported all the American athletes. Yet media questioned Rippon after his free skate in the team competition asking how was he able to deal with the feud with Pence. His response was basically that he was bearing up and just concentrating on competition since he got to the games, which was ridiculous and untrue.
But the news media wasn’t the only media offering awful takes.
Whoopi Goldberg said:
“A past controversy of his [Pence] is coming back to bite him right square on the face because openly gay Olympic skater Adam Rippon reportedly declined an invite to sit with the VP because Pence says he funded gay conversion therapy in the past which Pence says is not true.”
She then said that Pence basically doesn’t “acknowledge his [Rippon’s] right to exist” which is patently untrue and compared Pence allegedly inviting Rippon to meet to “asking a Jewish person to sit down and understand where a Nazi is coming from.”
James Kirchick, who writes for the liberal Jewish magazine Tablet, took exception to that comparison, as well anyone might.
A gay man meeting with the Vice President of the United States is not like a Jew hobnobbing with a Nazi. To start, the evangelical Christian Mike Pence does not insist that gay-owned shops be boycotted. (Actually, it’s gay activists advocating that some evangelical Christian-owned shops be boycotted, but leave that inconvenient fact aside for the moment). Mike Pence does not allege that a worldwide conspiracy of homosexuals is bent on destroying humanity. He also does not refer to gay people as “vermin.” Nor, most significantly as far as this particular analogy is concerned, does Mike Pence believe that the United States government should track down every single last gay man, woman and child on earth, crowd them into ghettoes, herd them onto cattle cars, ship them off to concentration camps, force them to subsist on starvation rations, and gas them in a process of industrial-scale extermination the likes of which the world has never seen since, well, that thing called the Holocaust.
Kirchick also noted that Rippon’s claim about Pence funding gay conversion therapy is just not true. Although it is an oft-repeated myth by those on the left.
It is based upon a single sentence from Pence’s 2000 congressional campaign website stating that federal funds targeting HIV/AIDS prevention “should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” One would have to be particularly uncharitable to assume Pence was advocating government funds be allocated to the fruitless and harmful effort of trying to make gay people straight; this language about altering “sexual behavior” more likely meant encouraging the use of condoms and safe-sex practices more generally. Regardless, there exists no evidence whatsoever of Pence ever actually saying anything in support of conversion therapy, much less “funding” it.
Kirchick notes that in covering the Rippon comments the New York Times implies the claim is true and does nothing to dispute it, noting “widely interpreted as signaling his support for conversion therapy.”
So in other words, because some can’t read and/or like to repeat rumor, let’s just go with that.
As Kirchick notes, this is the essence of “fake news” tossed out there simply because they don’t like Trump. Even someone who doesn’t like Trump like Kirchick gets there’s a big problem with that.
What leads people like Whoopi Goldberg to insist Mike Pence is a Nazi is the same impulse that leads otherwise intelligent people to trivialize the world’s most oppressive totalitarian dictatorship: Scoring political points against the democratically-elected President of the United States.
When your Trump Derangement Syndrome is so extreme that you’d support flat out falsehoods and the most oppressive regime on Earth, maybe it’s time to rethink what you are doing.
[Note: This post was written by Nick Arama]